Join Jim and Greg as they cheer President Trump’s selection of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the U.S. Supreme Court. They also dig into the New York Times story on Trump’s taxes and discuss what might be damaging and what’s just noise. And they discuss the spectrum of attacks Democrats and their media allies are aiming at Judge Barrett – from Obamacare scares to bashing her for being a working mom to why adopting kids from Haiti is somehow troubling.

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Liberty University, an institution that I work for, has called for forty days of prayer and fasting. Apparently this had nothing to do with the upcoming election, but if that’s true it probably should have been due to the election. My main prayer for this time has nothing to do with who wins but just […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

The Center for Small Town Jewish Life at Colby College provided a pageful of resources for Jewish Mainers stuck at home and attempting to observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Read More View Post

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Review: Protestants, by Alec Ryrie

 

I have read and recommended many books to friends, acquaintances, and strangers over the years, but I have done so selectively, carefully choosing what I recommend and to whom I recommend it. I have found few books, aside from dictionaries and Douglas Adams, that I would urge on others almost without condition. I have added one to that list: Protestants: The Radicals Who Made The Modern World, by Alec Ryrie.  

The Protestant Reformation made and remade what we consider to be modern Western Civilization, and regardless of what your faith is (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist), Protestantism has affected it for good or ill, even if you live half a world away from the epicenters of its origins in Europe. Regardless of whether you are even a Christian, you live in a world where Protestant Christianity has shaped, and even governed the way entire nations have thought and acted. If the 20th Century was the American Century, and the 19th Century was the British, then both were also the Protestant Centuries, for the very identities of those nations were inextricably bound up with Protestantism, both in their greatest triumphs and darkest sins. Alec Ryrie, a devout Anglican himself, presents the history of Protestant thought, denominations, and life in a single narrative volume that spans the past 500 years. It is his love letter to his faith, but told fairly and written with honesty and humor, and as such, it is an invaluable window into seeing the state of the modern world, and the origins and workings out of much of what we assume to be true.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Why I’m Still Out of a Job

 

It ain’t because there is no work available. Let’s get that right out in front of everything else. All the world is screaming out for labor; look around you. Every Walgreens and McDonald’s is looking to pick up some extra help. If I were a video game character and I were playing through life as myself I would be picking up extra shifts in between job applications. I’d have a job in a week; a good job, one that my mother would be proud to tell her friends about. I’d still pick up shifts at McDonald’s; more money is better than less money, and there’s nothing wrong with those jobs.

Video game characters don’t get tired, not like real people do. I’d have an even better job a month after that. Not honestly mind you; I wouldn’t have given full value to that first employer, not enough to cover the costs of hiring and training me. Video game NPCs don’t fill out government paperwork. And they take it pretty well when you do things that’d seem skeezy to real people. But I’m not a video game character and I’m not moving up in the world.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome Sen. Dianne Feinstein – the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee – saying she opposes ending the legislative filibuster. Without killing the filibuster, Democrats would be unable to add seats to the Supreme Court, but is Feinstein sincere or is she just worried about touting court packing before the election? They also brace for a violent day or more in Louisville as officials announce whether police officers will face charges for the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in March. And they unload on media outlets for not only beginning to attack possible Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett but for getting the story spectacularly wrong.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Rich Mullins, Ragamuffin

 

Rich Mullin
The Lord’s own ragamuffin.
Rich Mullins lived the life of a seeker. He grew up on the family farm with two brothers and two sisters and wrote songs about the farming life. Disappointed in love early, he would never settle, embracing the role of a ragamuffin. He took being in the world but not of the world very seriously, from 1995 until his death, he lived on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico teaching music to the children and attending Christian services.

Being a ragamuffin, he was always experimenting with his music. Few artists would reflect on the usefulness of a screen door on a submarine, but he did. Taking the Dylanesque tramp folkie image to heart, he kept his work fresh by finding new narrative approaches and drawing from many musical traditions.

Jemar Tisby, the New York Times Best-Selling Author of the critically acclaimed book, The Color of Compromise, joins Shermichael and Antonia to discuss the successes and failures of the Church in regards to racial reconciliation.

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Recently I came across an article titled The Tragedy of Voting for the “Lesser of Two Evils” by Austin Rogers, via the Libertarian Christian Institute. I was intrigued by the title because I have been thinking lately about the Christian’s relation to the ballot box. I believe there are many good reasons why Christians ought to […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they applaud the normalization of relations between Israel and Bahrain and indications that Saudi Arabia may soon follow suit. They also discuss the premeditated shootings of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on Saturday and why Joe Biden condemns the shooting but not the people blocking the ambulances from reaching the hospitals and chanting that they hoped the deputies died. And Jim explains why the wildfires in the western U.S. are exposing the extreme policies of some Democrats and environmental activists.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

From the golden hills of Jerusalem, a voice sang out to the people. It called them with a plaintive and powerful sound, telling them that an auspicious time had arrived. As it called to them, they put aside their tasks and readied themselves for this significant occasion. It was an ancient sound that rallied them […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Swimming the Bosporus 10: The Good Book and Holy Tradition

 

I did a lot of church-hopping in my college and Navy days. To simplify the search, I would look to see if a church claimed to be “Bible-believing.” This indicated they were non-denominational, pretty conservative, and focused on the Scriptures. If their name included “Bible Church,” even better.

Following the Bible is the main point of these assemblies, a principle that stems from the Reformation. Martin Luther declared that the Catholic Church was wrong to emphasize both Scripture and tradition. Instead, the authority should be Scripture alone (or, Sola Scriptura in Latin).

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jay Greene, the Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and Jason Bedrick, the Director of Policy for EdChoice. They discuss their timely new book, Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York, about the recent battle between Orthodox Jewish private schools and New York’s state government over the content of instruction. They explain “substantial equivalency” statutes and their potential impact on a wide array of private and religious schools, as well as on parental rights, K-12 education policy, and religious liberty in America. Bedrick and Greene draw comparisons between substantial equivalency regulations and the bigoted, 19th-century Blaine Amendments that were recently weakened as a result of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. They express concerns about growing interference by state departments of education, regardless of the paltry level of funding they distribute to private schools through Title I, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or other programs.

Stories of the Week: In Baltimore, the school district has formed a promising partnership with the Recreation & Parks office to give more than 1,000 students in-person access to their virtual learning lessons, in small cohort groups meeting in schools and rec centers. A New Hampshire town tuitioning program offers financial support to rural families who choose secular private schools for their children – but not to those choosing religious options. In the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, does that distinction still pass constitutional muster?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. On Empathy

 

If I were a drinking man, I’d play a drinking game: Open a dating app, the comments section of a Washington Post article, a feminist blog, or any other place where people of a left-wing persuasion congregate, and take a shot every time someone writes a paean to empathy.

Whatever your neighbor’s teenage daughter may say, empathy is not a virtue. Empathy is a useful and morally neutral psychological phenomenon, one which might underlie certain virtues, but one which is not itself sufficient as the basis for any coherent ethical system.* The world would not ipso facto become a better place if “everyone had more empathy.” On the contrary, it might degenerate into some version of what we see now: quivering masses of emotional gelatin demanding therapeutic self-affirmation in the form of safe spaces and coloring books; a people paralyzed in unending anguish merely because somewhere, someone is suffering. As a moral principle, empathy is self-defeating. Too often, appealing to the “capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference” is akin to saying, “Every action or belief is legitimate from the point of view of the person who experiences it, and therefore every action or belief is legitimate.” Empathy easily descends into excuse-making. (Take the canonical example of an abused girlfriend: Is she really better off for “showing empathy” to her abuser?) Once empathy is removed from the psychological realm and introduced to the ethical one, it negates the very purpose of ethics, which is to establish a series of principles by which actions can be judged.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I’m Just Fine in Here

 

Many years ago, my husband and I were invited to a small dinner party by friends of ours. We didn’t know the other people who attended, but I had heard of one of them. Her name was Peggy. She was a minister at the Church of Religious Science in Huntington Beach, CA and was living with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. At this point, she was confined to a wheelchair and was there with her husband. Someone who knew her but hadn’t seen her in a while asked her how she was doing. She answered, speaking with some difficulty, “I’m just fine in here.” I felt her smile and her face was glowing. I was so moved by the peace and joy she had found.

* * * *

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Like most people in the United States, we haven’t gone in-person to a church for a while. That’s quite a change for us. From July 2014 through December 2018, my wife and I went to a different church every week. 2016 was an amazing year when we went traveled to a different state every week (yup, all […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Time for Mourning

 

When a peaceful protestor was recently shot dead by a member of Antifa, the news was spotty at first. The reports went out that it was an Antifa member who was killed, and the left-wing crowds gathered to riot. Instead, the news was clarified that an Antifa member killed a Trump supporter. The Antifa members were proud. They said the man deserved it for being a “Fascist,” and that murdering him was merely, “taking out the trash.”

The Antifa member who murdered him fled across state lines. Federal Marshals attempted to arrest him. He did not comply, and fired at the Marshals. They returned fire, and now he is dead. Let us not make the same mistake Antifa made. Yes, he was a violent man and an assassin who died violently resisting arrest. He did not have to die, but he chose to resist arrest with a firearm. It was his choice. It was a bad choice. We can acknowledge these truths without celebration. We can be better than to say something similar to what Antifa members said about his victim.

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Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Swimming the Bosporus 9: ‘Are You Saved?’

 

Moving around for the Navy and college meant I visited a lot of churches. My standard protocol was to slouch in the back row then flee the instant the service wrapped up. (Introverts unite! Better yet, go over there.) But the church ladies were onto me. Before I could reach the door, they would sidle up with small talk before closing with the classic evangelical question: “So, are you saved?”

You encounter this question constantly in American Protestant circles since it’s such a foundational doctrine. Heaven or hell. Turn or burn. Sanctify or french fry. And the path to salvation is pretty straightforward. Sincerely recite the Sinner’s Prayer and you’re in for good.

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Tomorrow, Sunday, is the Lord’s Day; some would say, the Christian Sabbath. Expounding upon that doctrine is not my intent, but rather to just share some of my favorite old hymns for the day, and ask if you might share one of the old ones that’s a favorite of yours. BTW, what is on top […]

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